Getting Serious About Syria
President Trump stunned observers around the world when he announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria Wednesday. Predictably, the move was met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Washington establishment, including some on the right.
Critics on both sides of the aisle are framing the decision as a win for Russia and Iran. But I’d like to do quick reality check.
America’s commitment of 2,000 troops pales in comparison to the estimated 80,000 extremists in Syria controlled by Iran, or the more than 60,000 troops Russia has circulated through Syria. Even the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has between seven and ten thousand fighters in Syria.
What about the claims that Trump’s decision is a victory for Russia and Iran? Well, that would be the same Russia that the Trump Administration has sanctioned numerous times, including yet again Wednesday!
As for Iran, Trump cancelled Barack Obama’s nuclear deal that gave the mullahs at least $100 billion in sanctions relief. And he has re-imposed tough sanctions that are crippling Iran’s economy.
Over the last two years, Trump has increased America’s military budget to record levels. And under President Trump’s leadership, our military was unshackled from Obama-era rules of engagement. As a result, the ISIS caliphate has been crushed, and Trump has gotten NATO countries to agree to increase their defense budgets for the first time in years.
I firmly believe that the U.S. must remain engaged in the world. But like many Americans, I’m also tired of no-win, endless wars. If we’re going to ask our young men and women in uniform to risk their lives overseas, it should be for a cause that’s not only just, but also winnable.
Donald Trump pledged during the 2016 presidential campaign that the United States would no longer be involved in unwinnable wars. And he’s following through on that pledge. In a series of tweets yesterday, he explained the decision to leave Syria. Here’s what he wrote:
“Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing their work. Time to come home & rebuild. #MAGA
"Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight.”
By the way, have you also noticed that some of the people screaming the loudest about leaving Syria have never been this concerned about our own border security? They have failed to deliver funding for the wall, and they were unhappy when Trump sent several thousand troops to protect our own border.
Speaking of the border, as I noted yesterday President Trump is not backing down on his demand for more border security funding. Washington is once again bracing for possible government shutdown today after the president informed Speaker Paul Ryan that he will not sign the stop-gap bill the Senate passed Wednesday night.
And in a big win for the Trump Administration’s efforts to end “catch and release,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that Mexico has agreed to hold migrants there while we process their asylum claims. In a statement, Nielsen said:
“Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico.”
Getting Tough On China
The idea that Donald Trump is weak against our enemies is ludicrous. Yesterday the Justice Department indicted two Chinese nationals associated with the Ministry of State Security for serious cyberattacks against U.S. government agencies, leading corporations and other nations.
NBC News reports that “The Navy was particularly hard hit." The hackers stole the Social Security numbers, dates of birth and salary information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.
In spite of criticism that Donald Trump is alienating allies, yesterday’s announcement was coordinated with to turn the screws on China for violating a 2015 agreement against cyberespionage.
While other administrations kowtowed to Beijing’s demands, the has boldly confronted the growing threats from communist China.